Reality Television Essay

Reality Television
A genre analysis of two reality TV shows, "The Real World" and "The Surreal Life".
# 54544 | 2,875 words | 10 sources | MLA | 2004 | US
Published on Dec 30, 2004 in Communication (Television) , Sociology (Media and Society)

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The writer of this paper conducts a genre analysis of "The Real World" and "The Surreal Life". "The Real World" is one of the pioneers of the current reality TV shows, first coming on the air in 1992. It features average everyday individuals living together in often lavish apartments in
different U.S. cities. "Surreal Life" is a relative newcomer compared to "The Real World", having first been broadcast in January 2003. It explains that the premise of this show is similar in that the cast involves individuals living together in a lavish apartment or house, but the individuals on this show are, or once were, famous. My writer's thesis is that the change in cast of characters between "The Real World" and "The Surreal Life" is typical of developments within the genre. The writer proposes to show that the current run of shows typified by "The Surreal Life", concentrating on strange people and extreme situations and primarily negative emotions, is indicative of the current state of reality TV taken to its absolute limits.

From the Paper:

"The real history of reality TV starts in 1973 with a documentary that appeared on public television entitled An American Family. This 12-part series, which was filmed over a period of a year and half, showed the life and struggles of the Loud family in Santa Barbara, California. The show was innovative in that its cast of characters were not actors, but instead were real individuals going about their everyday tasks, which were familiar to viewers of the show. But just because the characters in the show were not professional actors, this show illustrated, did not mean that there was any lack of tension, drama, or interesting plots. During the course of the show, Lance, the eldest son, came out of the closet as gay, and Bill and Pat Loud divorced. The show obviously anticipated reality TV in more ways than one. I believe that The Real World is a product of An American Family."

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